The head of the pro-Kremlin Russian bikers group, the Night Wolves, has lent strong support to pro-Serbian protesters in Montenegro in a video published on Facebook, in protest against a new law on freedom of religion passed by the Montenegrin parliament at the end of December 2019.
The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) is opposing the law claiming it is discriminatory and targeted towards its properties in Montenegro.
But President Milo Đukanović told Serbian agency Tanjug that the government would not withdraw the law, claiming that protests against it are political and trying to protect Serbian influence in Montenegro.
In 1918, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church ceased to exist after Yugoslavia was first formed (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians), following which the SPC became one church for all orthodox communities.
After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991, Montenegro and North Macedonia formed their autocephalous (independent) churches, but they did not obtain the Tomos (an act of independence) from Constantinople (now Istanbul).
Now, Đukanović has adopted a law that will, if implemented, diminish the SPC’s influence in Montenegro. But, it seems like Russia is sending the following message: we are monitoring, closely. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)